GULU– Fish farmers in Gulu city and Gulu district have received over 41800 fish fingerlings worth over Shs 14 million from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal husbandry and Fisheries [MAAIF] and Gulu District Local Government.
The fingerlings that comprise tilapia and cut fish were distributed to 18 farmers in both Gulu city and Gulu district.
Emmanuel Omara Pacuto, Gulu district Fisheries Officer says the ministry gave them 31,800 fingerlings while the district procured Shs 10,000. He says they have also received 1 metric ton of fish feeds from the ministry, which they are yet to distribute to the farmers.
Omara however says that the support is a drop in the ocean given the number of fish farmers in Gulu totaling over 200 fish farmers and over 350 fishponds.
Currently, a fish fingerling cost Shs 350 while a kilo of fish feed costs between Shs 5000 -Shs 6000, which Omara says is expensive for farmers subsequently appealing for more support from the government and other development partners.
According to Omara, currently, the biggest challenges fish farmers face in the two local governments are access to fish feeds forcing several farmers out of the practice as well as the high cost of fingerlings coupled with the accessibility issues.
“There are no fish ponds that produce and sell fingerlings from within Gulu city, and this has heavily affected and made it more expensive for new farmers to join this practice. Our farmers are forced to travel to either central or western Uganda to buy fingerlings and this comes with a lot more extra costs”, Omara says.
Omara says that to tackle the feed gap, they are training farmers to locally produce their own feeds from maize and rice brans, soybean and sunflower cake as well as silverfish.
Steven Ojara, a fish farmer from Unyama in Gulu district told our reporter that besides the access to fish fingerling and feed challenges, he has also been hit hard by changing weather patterns in the region.
In 2021, an estimated 5.8 metric ton of fish was produced earning about 150mln in Gulu. In 2020, an estimated 5.1 metric tons of fish was harvested. Currently, 1 kilogramme of fish in Gulu city costs between Shs 14000 –Shs 15000.
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